Nigeria: Terrorists Disguised Themselves as Christians Before Opening Fire in Church, Killing over 50

nigeria terrorists disguised themselves as christians before opening fire in church killing over 50
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

A group of unidentified men, believed to ethnic Fulani terrorists, unleashed gunfire and explosives on a packed Catholic church in southwestern Nigeria’s Ondo State during mass on Sunday, killing at least 50 people, Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper reported on Monday.

The attack took place at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, a town in Ondo State, around midday on June 5. Reuters cited accounts by local doctors saying at least 50 people, including women and children, were killed in the massacre. Vanguard revealed on June 6 that some of the victims were pregnant women.

“The gunmen invaded the religious premises with explosives which they detonated before opening live rounds on members while church service was ongoing,” Olayemi Adeyemi, a legislator representing Owo constituency in the Ondo State House of Assembly, told Vanguard on June 5.

“Locals around the church premises saw the attackers who were on the run after unleashing the horrific act on the church. They were armed herdsmen of Fulani extraction,” the lawmaker said.

“The attack was a reprisal aimed at sending a message to [Ondo State] Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who chased away violent Fulani pastoralists from the area,” Adeyemi alleged.

Vanguard interviewed survivors and eyewitnesses of the attack. One anonymous source told the newspaper that the gunmen, estimated to number four or five, disguised themselves as worshippers before ambushing the church. Doctors in Owo told Reuters anonymously on Monday that blood donations were needed at local hospitals to help treat injured victims of the attack.

“[Nigerian] President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack, calling it ‘heinous’, and the Vatican said Pope Francis was praying for the victims who had been ‘painfully stricken in a moment of celebration,'” Reuters relayed on June 6.

nigeria terrorists disguised themselves as christians before opening fire in church killing over 50

A police officer stands guard inside the St. Francis Catholic Church a day after an attack that targeted worshipers in Owo, Nigeria, Monday, June 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

President Buhari descends from the primarily Muslim Fulani ethnic tribe. The leader, who is a practicing Muslim, has faced criticism by observers both within Nigeria and outside of the country for seemingly failing to implement any effective policies to deter anti-Christian attacks by jihadist Fulanis. Militant members of the Fulani tribe are often referred to as “cattle herdsmen” due to their mostly nomadic lifestyle. The terrorist members of the tribe are, in fact, jihadis who massacre Christian villages across Nigeria in targeted raids.

Nigeria’s Islamic insurgency is not limited to Fulani attacks. The West African nation has been home to the Islamist terror group Boko Haram since about 2009. The group is based in northeastern Nigeria but has expanded its territory to more central regions of the country in recent years, including immediately surrounding the national capital of Abuja.

Nigeria’s population is split roughly 50-50 between Muslims and Christians, with Muslims slightly the national majority. The nation’s Christians reside primarily in the south, while most of its Muslims live in northern Nigeria.

Authored by Gabrielle Reyes via Breitbart June 6th 2022